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Atlantic Hurricane Season Officially Underway

UPDATED June 2, 2012

By WeatherBug Meteorologists

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The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially kicked off June 1, but rare May tropical storms Alberto and Beryl have already gotten a jump on this season.

Even with the early storms, WeatherBug Meteorologists expect the 2012 Atlantic Basin hurricane season will be close to normal this year after an above-average 2011 season. To be exact, the WeatherBug forecast calls for 11 to 13 named storms to form in the Atlantic Hurricane basin this year. Six to seven of these storms will become hurricanes, and two to four major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher are possible. The long-term annual average since 1981 is 12 storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

Factors expected to influence the 2012 hurricane season include the multi-decadal high hurricane cycle and neutral El Nino or La Nina pattern that could turn into weak El Nino conditions later this autumn.

"A weak El Nino might develop by this autumn, which could be a slightly negative factor for the latter part of the hurricane season," says James Aman, WeatherBug Senior Meteorologist. "This will tend to be balanced by the favorable phase of the long-term Atlantic multi-decade cycle."

In comparison, the Colorado State University tropical forecast team increased their numbers slightly from the initial forecast released in early April. The CSU team now predicts a near average season with 13 tropical storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes this year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hurricane forecast issued on May 25 predicted a similar seasonal outcome.

The Atlantic Hurricane Basin consists of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 every year. The historical height of the Atlantic hurricane season runs from mid-August to early October; however, tropical systems can form at any time during the season.

Now is the time for all Americans living near and along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coast to begin preparing for the upcoming hurricane season. Be sure to create and update a hurricane emergency plan and make sure the hurricane emergency kit is stocked with fresh provisions. Click here for more information about preparations you can do today.

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